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Council approves four-story housing complex, despite neighbor concerns
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Local resident Patrick Jensen posted a sign earlier this year protesting the proposed four-story apartment complex project on Monte Vista Avenue between Dels Lane and Crowell Road. - photo by Journal file photo

The tallest residential buildings in Turlock will soon be under construction between Dels Lane and Crowell Road, as the Turlock City Council approved a plan for a student housing complex.

The Vista student housing project includes three four-story buildings 50 feet in height, with 180 units, 600 beds and 618 parking spaces. The complex will also include a recreation center with a roughly 6,000 square foot club house, basketball and volleyball courts, as well as a pool.

The Council's approval came despite the continued protest of neighbors of the project.

"When we heard this sick story that we're only going to have seven feet worth of a [barrier] between us and a 50 feet high just isn't feasible in the area it's in," said Nanette Snoke, who's house will be one of six that will border the apartment complex.

Other neighbors expressed concerns about privacy, increased traffic both vehicular and pedestrian, and possible underage drinking on the property.

David Moon, president of Coleraine Capital Group which is partnering with AMCAL Equities for the project, addressed concerns about the project in neighborhood meetings held earlier in the year and at Tuesday's Council meeting.

The design plans for the project were altered to move the recreation center farther away from neighboring houses and a masonry wall will be built to shield the area from the Yosemite Farm Credit building which is adjacent to the complex on the east.

"I appreciate how the developer has actually sort of crafted and changed their plan for the project responding to community concerns. Originally the project, from what I understand,  was supposed to have 800 units, so they cut down their units by one fourth to eliminate that building closest to the residents that are behind the property...I think it's important to note the dialog that's been taking place  between the community is being heard," said Council member Matthew Jacob.

The property on which the apartment complex will be built has long sat vacant, waiting for a project to be realized. Three separate housing projects, for condominiums, low-income housing and student housing, all fell through in the past decade.

The last project that was expected to come to the property was the Ten Pin Fun Center, a 52,000 square-foot family entertainment center that was slated to include a 34-lane bowling alley, a laser tag arena, arcade, and sports bar and grill. The project was approved by the Turlock City Council in December 2010, but was never built.

According to Jim Theis, one of the three original developers of the project, the recession had a lot to do with the failure of the Ten Pin Fun Center. 

“When we started proposing this project it was during the toughest economic times you could go through. In 2010 financing just wasn’t available for these types of projects,” said Theis in 2014. “Timing was everything, or rather late timing I guess.”